The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Though Straw Hat's menu is predominantly circular cuisine, diners can stave off the pizzapocalypse with a curtain raiser of a dozen Mojave hot wings ($7.99) and equally savory views of the all-you-can-watch plasma TVs. Next, flip a dollar bill to decide whether to have Straw Hat's original California crust or a thicker, pan-ier DaPan pizza foundation and then build your own piescraper from the medium 12 in. ground up with any of more than 20 toppings and four sauces (one topping or cheese, $12.99; each additional topping, $1.25). Experimental eaters can create a heretofore unheard of combo such as a barbecue-bacon and pineapple pizza. For more ready-made and time-tested flavors, grab one of Straw Hat’s specialty Master Pizzas, such as the king-size 18 in. favorite, The Works (salami, ham, sausage, pepperoni, linguica, ground beef, mushrooms, olives, and bell peppers, $26.99).
Pizza Ultimate's kitchen crew begins their pizzas with a solid base. They make the dough fresh with high-protein flour and low-sodium baking soda, and for the jalapeno and garlic options, they bake the ingredients directly into the crust. The cheese sprinkled on top is real mozzarella, though specialty pizzas include delicious combinations of ingredients, such as a mix of red and green pesto sauce, or chorizo and cotija cheese. Customers can call for delivery, but they'd miss out on the heady competition at pinball and pool, and the live music that fills the room every other Friday night.
The chefs at New York Pasta & Pizza honor the eatery’s name by crafting foldable, thin-crust, New York–style pies from fresh dough made daily. The cooks toss and fire 12 specialty pizzas, including the buffalo-, pesto-, or garlic-spiced chicken pizza, the Greek-inspired eggplant-and-feta pizza, and the Mexican-style chorizo-and-linguiça pizza. In the hope that one day someone will request an edible portrait of Al Pacino, the pizza artists also encourage customers to create their own pies from more than 45 toppings such as sun-dried tomatoes, italian sausage, and artichokes. Guests can also supplement pizzas with New York–style sides such as wings, ribs, garlic bread, and several classic Italian pastas.
The menu at A-Town Pizza & Kabob House is diverse in a rather unconventional way?diners will find a mix of Italian, Afghan, and American food. Crowning the selection of 13 specialty pizzas is the A-Town special, a pie that?s buried under 20 toppings including salami, jalapeno, feta, and pineapple. Diners can choose up to four toppings to put in a calzone, and a succinct lineup of pasta dishes further solidifies the menu's allegiance to Italian tradition. Afghan spices, meanwhile, flavor lamb, beef, or chicken kabobs, and, like the edible ink used to sign the Constitution, sandwiches and hot wings burst with all-American flavors.
Cooks at Pavlo's Pizza and Pasta rise early each day to craft fresh pizza dough and sauce for their signature pies. The crisp circlets sport never-frozen ingredients including artichoke hearts, garlic, linguica, feta cheese, and pesto sauce. At large booths, silverware clatters percussively, and delivery drivers rush past, transporting pizzas to customers staying in for the evening or pretending not to be stuck in wet cement. Half racks of baby-back ribs share the tables with oven-baked sandwiches stuffed with house-made meatballs and marinara sauce.